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May 25, 1984

Boxing Should Be Banned in Civilized Countries—Round 2

JAMA. 1984;251(20):2696-2698. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340440054029

On Jan 14, 1983, The Journal published two major articles1,2 and two editorials3,4 on the subject of boxing. The Journal's editor took the position that boxing should be banned in civilized countries based on moral, ethical, and medical grounds. The hullabaloo that followed was instantaneous, massive, and prolonged. It included major network television coverage, newspaper articles and editorials, magazine stories, letters of support, debate, and criticism to The Journal, and numerous interviews with the various media for authors of all four publications in The Journal. A Congressional hearing was spurred, and several state legislatures considered actions.

With the exception of some closely tied to amateur boxing, virtually no one defended the "sport" as it is. The overwhelming majority of correspondents, witnesses, and authors stated that there was much wrong with boxing. Typical comments in articles, letters, and telephone calls included those decrying the situation: "Boxing is an exhibition of